Thursday 13 December 2018

Dad's version of baby death 'inconsistent' - prosecution

John Tighe (40) pictured leaving the Central Criminal Court in Dublin. Photo: Collins Courts
John Tighe (40) pictured leaving the Central Criminal Court in Dublin. Photo: Collins Courts

Eoin Reynolds

The prosecution in the trial of a father accused of murdering his baby son has highlighted what it says are inconsistencies in the accused man's account of how the infant died.

John Tighe (40), of Lavallyroe, Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, has pleaded not guilty to murdering six-and-a-half-month old Joshua Sussbier Tighe at his home on June 1, 2013.

The prosecution alleges baby Joshua choked on a wad consisting of two scrunched up pieces of tissue that was placed in his throat by the accused.

Mr Tighe has always maintained he was changing the baby's nappy, went to the toilet and when he returned Joshua was choking on the tissue.

Prosecution counsel Paul Murray SC began his closing speech by saying this was a very sad case involving the death of a six-and-a-half-month old baby, but the jury must be dispassionate and apply logic "with no emotion for one side or the other".

He said if they looked at inconsistencies in Mr Tighe's accounts of what happened and tied that with the medical evidence, they would be satisfied the accused is guilty.

On the accused man's account, he said, Joshua's death was a simple, tragic accident and as such you would expect it to be consistent.

However, Mr Murray pointed to what he said were conflicting accounts as to whether he used tissue to apply Sudocrem to the baby, whether he could hear the baby making noise when the accused was in the bathroom and Joshua's condition on his return from the bathroom.

Mr Tighe had been inconsistent about whether he had put the baby under the tap to moisten the tissue and when he first noticed blood coming from the child's mouth.

Further inconsistencies could be seen when he told emergency services he had been tapping the baby's back for 10 minutes to try to clear the obstruction but in later accounts said nothing about tapping. He had then said he had put his fingers into Joshua's mouth to try to remove the obstruction before calling emergency services.

Mícheál P O'Higgins for the defence said Mr Tighe was not a criminal but a person who loved his child.

There was no history of violence and the child's mother, Natasha Sussbier, had no concerns about him looking after the child.

Mr O'Higgins will complete his closing speech in front of Justice Patrick McCarthy today.

Irish Independent

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